WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: May 20, 2013
Location: Village Hall Training Room
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Commissioners: Shelly, Benz, Olvany, Crowley, Abbott
Staff: Bingham, Lambrecht, Bowen, Groves, Heafey, Specht. D. Miller, J. Rome
Visitors: Steve Kaiser, Scott Saef, Jim Flaherty, Brian Day, Rick Baer, John Kelly
Topics for Discussion:
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes
a) April 15, 2013
3) Communication and Correspondence
4) Recognition of Visitors
a) Steve Kaiser re: Eagles Football
5) Manager’s Reports
6) Old Business
a) Elmwood Avenue Right-of-Way (Verbal Update)
7) New Business
a) Bid Approval: Fitness Equipment Replacement
b) Park Permit Request: Park View School, Morton Grove
c) Park Permit Request: Baker Demonstration School
8) Adjourn to Closed Session: Discussion of minutes of prior meetings lawfully closed under the Open Meetings Act for the purpose of review, approval or release of such minutes per Section a (c)(21) of the Open Meetings Act; and for the discussion of the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of specific employees of the District per Section 1(c)(1) of the Open Meetings Act.
9) Reconvene Regular Meeting
a) Consider of Action, if any, of items discussed in Closed Section.
1) The Committee meeting convened at 6:30 p.m.
2) The Committee reviewed the minutes of April 15, 2013 and approved them by general consent.
3) Under Communication and Correspondence, an email dated April 20 was received from Mr. George Vandervoort regarding an easier way to remove the beach pass parking stickers. Superintendent Bingham stated she had asked Communications Manager Shelagh Donoghue to conduct research on the type of material we had used for the stickers. She also stated that the District intentionally purchased a sticker that would fracture upon removal as compared to the Village of Wilmette who use a “cling” type of pass which is easily transferrable. Also available is a sticker material that peels off in one piece but which cannot be reused and the cost would be about the same amount we currently pay which is $3,300. Commissioner Olvany stated he liked the second option. Commissioner Shelly stated that it was the second option that Superintendent Bingham had recommended. After additional discussion, it was recommended that this issue be revisited next year when we’re ready to purchase next season’s parking decals.
Superintendent Bingham reported an email was received from Sheli Sullivan complimenting Mike Kharpak. Also enclosed in the packet was a thank you note from Katie Weedon for the wonderful Mother’s Day Bingo Night which the teachers hosted at the Community Recreation Center. Lastly, an email was received from Steve Kaiser regarding artificial football turf.
4) Under Recognition of Visitors, Steve Kaiser stated he and his wife Julie and four children play a lot of sports and most of them are with the Wilmette Park District and with the schools. He has also coached three of those sports and his personal background includes participating in athletics at Northwestern University. He has also been involved with the Eagles for about five years. The Eagles do a great job of following the Park District’s mission statement as it is inclusive and there are no cuts. The program also includes life lessons and provides a good foundation for these children to build upon. Things have changed over the years in terms of coaching and safety and certain issues need to be addressed.
The basic structure of the program includes a house league for children in the fourth and fifth grades and then there is the travel program for children in grades six through eight. For communications purposes they have a web site that is static. Mr. Keiser also stated that after he spoke to the players and coaches, he has some recommendations to make including combining the house league with the travel program.
Rick Baer, 2112 Chestnut Avenue, stated that we are also managed by the ISH rules and we are one of the only groups in the league that is still run by a park district. He also suggested moving fifth graders to the house league.
Dick Miller, Buffalo Grove, stated he had worked at the Park District for a number of years and there wasn’t another community with fourth graders in the house league until this past year. Once there were enough boys in the sixth grade to form a travel team, we didn’t want to jeopardize our house league. Something to think about is that if we take our fifth graders away we may have no more house league which is a training ground for children and where they are eased into travel football.
Jim Rome, 517 Lavergne, stated he has been running the travel program for a couple of years now and he thinks it’s important to point out that originally the program was set up for sixth and seventh graders only. Then there was a lot of pressure from towns in the league to add sixth grade. He also believes that the difference between a fifth grader and a sixth grader is tremendous and it is one of the reasons why we currently only run it with sixth graders.
Steve Kaiser continued his presentation stating that the coaching model is the real strength of the program but there are some weaknesses. The problem is that when the dad coaches leave, their knowledge disappears with them. Besides the Criminal Background Checks, he would also like to see a process for determining the level of knowledge and positive attitudes of coaches. They do the best they can but it’s difficult with volunteers. The number one best practice is to have eight coaches and then you can get them certified, keep them accountable, and they would follow the protocols. A hybrid model has worked well at other neighboring towns and they have shared their templates with the Eagles.
Mr. Kaiser’s stated player safety always needs to be highlighted at all levels. In terms of concussions, there is no “magic bullet” but there is a lot of information to be found such as proper education, facilities, training, coaching models, testing, assessments, game management, and injury assessment that are all part of creating a new culture. The “Heads Up Football” initiative is the trademark name for US Football which teaches certain techniques and concepts.
The facilities and fields at Howard Park are inadequate and the office is small but maybe we could use the landscaping garage. In terms of new field turf the information he forwarded to the Park District has been proven to have less injuries according to the company’s web site.
Superintendent Bingham stated that as an update, Recreation Program Supervisor Carol Heafey has been working closely with Jason Pilecki for almost a year now and they have assembled parent manuals for all our sports and those are two new items that are being implemented this upcoming season for football. Carol added that in terms of equipment, everything’s included this year except for the cleats.
Superintendent Bingham stated that staff had asked Rydell to do a more intensive helmet fitting this year and they will be an active part of that whole process. Mr. Keyser stated that in regard to certification, when the Park District works with hired staff as opposed to volunteers you can require certification and accountability. Superintendent Bingham stated she disagrees because we can require certification for our volunteers and can hold them accountable. She added that some good points were raised this evening which staff will consider moving forward. Carol instructed Jason to go through the USA Football certification program (Level 1) to provide staff with an idea of what is involved and Jason found it very interesting and helpful. He also had access to a lot of the information that has been talked about tonight.
Superintendent Bingham stated that in terms of where we are now, Carol has spoken to the gentleman from USA Football today and he explained that “Heads Up Football” is a new program being rolled out this year. It consists of a very lengthy contractual agreement with a lot of liability requirements which staff would need to review with our attorneys. There is a cost of $25 per coach which allows someone to use their certification program without actually joining the program. If and when you become a member, there is a charge of $5 per coach. Staff is currently investigating what the best use for us is.
Superintendent Bingham added that the Park District is making improvements to the equipment and also making sure they are wearing the right equipment for their shape and body size. There are currently only six people on the Parent Committee so far and staff is hoping for more. Their first meeting will be held on May 30, 2013.
Brian Day,1502 Walnut, stated he is not sure if he had heard that the committee was formed and that maybe are additional people who would be interested in signing up.
Superintendent Bingham added that the Park District doesn’t own the property at Howard Park; it is actually owned by the Village of Wilmette who indicated there might be some expansion on that property by the Police Department at some point in the future which could force us to relocate. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that the cost for artificial turf would be approximately $1 million. He added that the problem with artificial turf is that you have to provide storm water detention for the field because it is considered to be an impervious surface. At the Community Playfields we couldn’t afford to give up enough space to provide surface detention and we would have to put something underground which would be very expensive.
Commissioner Olvany stated he was unclear on who is hired and who is a volunteer with the Eagles. Superintendent Bingham replied Dick Miller and Jim Rome are hired staff and Dick has been working with the house league and Jim has been helping with the travel program. Commissioner Olvany asked how staff is hired, how the volunteers are gathered, and how the screening process works.
Mr. Miller stated he had talked to everyone in the house league to explain the role of volunteer coaches and that we need four to five coaches per team which is followed by a lot of training. Some people have contacted Jason to ask about becoming volunteer coaches. Some of these coaches eventually migrate up to travel.
Committee Chair Shelly stated that staff would definitely look into the roles of coaches and that it was also her understanding that over the last ten years it has been about the same number of children playing. Mr. Miller stated their participation numbers have been over 200 in the past. Superintendent Bingham stated there are a lot of issues to consider and it is important for staff to talk about what would be in the best interest of this program and determine what we need to do to make this year a good one and then move forward and make positive changes.
Committee Chair Shelly and Commissioner Olvany agreed that the paid/volunteer coaching model was a good way to proceed with the program.
Superintendent Bingham stated that the first Parent Committee meeting has already been scheduled. Committee Chair Shelly added that we need to inform all of the parents with children involved in the program. Superintendent Bingham stated that the key contact for the Parent Committee is Carol Heafey and they should contact her sooner rather than later. Commissioner Olvany thought that a search for additional coaches would be an action item for staff this upcoming fall.
Recreation Programming Manager Carol Heafey stated she had additional information on what the Park District is doing related to concussion awareness. Last year staff distributed a fact sheet from PDRMA which indicated someone could do an online concussion class through PDRMA. This year that information is also included in the coaches manual and soccer was the first area to roll out the program. The next subject was concussion awareness and Jason is currently doing certification testing for this with help from a trainer at New Trier who attended our coaches meeting. All of this information will also be posted on the Park District’s web site.
Committee Chair Shelly suggested we put this item on the agenda for the next meeting in order to revisit this issue and review the updates from the Parent Committee.
5) Under Managers Reports, Superintendent Bingham reported that the Board has created a new Lakefront Committee. As a result, future Manager Reports from Holly Specht will take place at those meetings. Holly then reported that the lakefront has been very busy and everything seems to be falling into place. The Sailing Beach opened on May 11. The new stand-up-paddle boards (SUP’s) have been set up and patrons are bringing in their SUP’s. Buoys have been placed in the water and staff will continue putting in the rest of the buoys along with the lifeguard stands, garbage cans, etc. There were 130 people checking in at sailing this weekend.
Superintendent Bingham added that in the past, a good number of people reserved spaces but then never brought their boats in. As result and because of the high demand, staff implemented a policy that confirms they do actually have a boat. Holly stated that in the future if they don’t check in they will lose their space from last year. This is being done because of the extensive waiting list and is similar to what the Wilmette Harbor already does. Superintendent Bingham added that Illinois has some of the most complicated laws on confiscating abandoned property and staff has been working with our attorneys on how to get rid of boats abandoned by their owners. Commissioner Olvany stated he thought the SUP area looked “awesome” and fairly large.
Holly continued to report that the lakefront is now fully staffed and that there had been training and orientations all day, every day with different groups. The rental fleet has been put together and they have started doing their shakedowns today which consists of putting the boats together and then testing them. Bird walks and garden walks have been held in the park. The Great Strides event was held and it was estimated there were 800 people who showed up for this event. They also collected $172,000 and did a great job of cleaning up the park. Also, thanks go to Tom Tricoci for helping out at the event.
Sailing lessons currently have 122 participants enrolled and aquatics camp has 382 which is 50 more than last year. The Junior Lifeguard program currently has 20 participants and last year at this time there were six. The beach house is being cleaned in anticipation of the concessions vendor returning to the lakefront. Chairs and garbage cans have been placed at the south beach today. Langdon Park is also being set up and staff is looking forward to Memorial Day weekend.
CRC General Manager Jeff Groves reported that the spring session of gymnastics had a total of 1,889 gymnasts participating which is outstanding for the spring session. After the winter session, there were 2,000 gymnasts which was an all-time high. Superintendent Bingham stated the competitive season has ended but staff is still working on setting up a different structure for this program and Gymnastics Supervisor Mike Kharpak is constantly hiring people. Gymnastics camp has 96 enrolled with a cap of 110 and there are 63 in session II. In the Fitness Department, Camp Fusion has filled with a total of 60 children. Jeff stated he has been working with Carol on camp orientation.
Jeff also mentioned that CRC Administrative Assistant Jacque Crane will be retiring in June. Superintendent Bingham explained that for this particular position we could possibly end up with 300 resumes. As a result, staff is considering using a temporary agency that NSSRA used to fill a void. The agency would then be handling the review of all the resumes and then narrow them down to a manageable number. We would also interview the selected applicants and if we determine that this person isn’t working out, they will continue to interview other applicants.
Carol Heafey reported that after having postponed the first weekend due to flooding, we have had some nice weather for soccer. We also built an extra weekend into the season for make-up games. There are currently 99 girls and 121 boys in Lacrosse. Those numbers are down slightly from last year but that could be due to Loyola starting Lacrosse. Flag football is doing well and there were 37 players for four teams. We ran it in the fall for the first time and received a great response. The North Shore Theater’s performance of Annie had nine sold-out shows out of nine performances and ticket sales and concessions brought in $34,966. The dance department held their recital this last weekend but instead of being held at Regina Dominican, it was held at the CRC and everything went very well.
Carol Heafey also reported that in the Early Childhood Department registration for Kindergarten Enrichment began last week and there are currently 89 children enrolled. Non-resident registration begins tomorrow. The Early Childhood classes are winding down and Kindergarten Enrichment ends on June 7. We are also only 28 days away from the start of summer camps. The recreation supervisors are preparing their camp parent manuals that will be going out next week to all of our participants. Staff also has finalized the agendas for our directors’ training to be held on June 5 and 12. The counselor orientation will be held on June 13 and 14. Shelagh Donoghue and Bill Popielarczyk have been working with Carol on the camp emergency form which will be mailed and also posted on our web site. Also new this year for our camp directors is that they will have camp emails for better communications with parents. We are currently at 2,083 campers compared to 1,919 last year at this time.
6) Under Old Business, Superintendent Bingham provided an Elmwood Dunes update explaining that as directed by the Committee, we communicated with the Wilmette Village’s Engineering Department and explained what the cost breakdown is to have our staff monitor the property. Director Brigitte Mayerhofer replied with what days and hours the Village would be interested in paying for staff and how many staff they would need. This memo was shared with the Committee.
Superintendent Lambrecht explained that the agreement we had with the Village is that once our crew puts in trash cans down there between the two parks then the cans would be considered Park District cans and the Park District will pick up the trash on the beach. Commissioner Shelly added that at the last Parks & Recreation meeting someone had asked who would monitor behavior in the park itself. Superintendent Bingham replied that this was similar to what we do at the south end and staff will also call police if they see illegal behavior. Holly pointed out we also have the beach cleaner which is a big tractor that is able to clean the beach sand and it would stop there twice a week. She added that the first rotation of patrol staff is coming up on Saturday and we’re also putting park patrol on the sailing beach. The current plan is to have them work a two-hour shift and then they will rotate through another two-hour shift so that one person isn’t in the same place all the time. Superintendent Bingham indicated that the Village was going to be passing an ordinance similar to the Park District’s but we don’t know if they have done so yet.
At this point in the meeting, an attorney representing the Noyes family announced that the Village did pass the ordinance. Another visitor asked if there was a question about a Park District staff member(s), who should be contacted. Superintendent Bingham replied that if it is on a weekday, they can call the Village but if it’s during the weekend, they should contact the Park District. Commissioner Benz added that this is still in an evolutionary state. Kathy added that if there are problems then we will address them at that time.
Commissioner Olvany stated staff should make sure the Village knows that the Park District will not be policing at the street level. He is also concerned about their being only one person at the Dunes on Fridays since that is when people bring in their coolers for “happy hour”. As a result, he would also like to suggest staff inform the Village that there should be another person at the Dunes on Fridays, especially later in the afternoon/early evening.
7) New Business:
Jeff Groves stated that the bid for the replacement of fitness equipment including the treadmills, cross trainers, and ellipiticals is under the budgeted amount.
Commissioner Benz moved and Commissioner Olvany seconded a motion to recommend to the full Board the approval of the bid from LifeFitness for 6 Treadmills with 17” Television; 2 C5X Climb Mills; 2 Cross Trainer Ellipticals; and 1 Lifecycle Recumbent Bike for a total bid amount of $47,762.00.
By a voice vote, voting Yes – All; voting No – None. Motion Carried.
The Committee also reviewed the Park Permit requests from Park View School (Morton Grove) and Baker Demonstration School (Evanston). After some discussion, both permits were approved.
8) The Regular Committee meeting adjourned to Closed Session at 8:15 pm.
9) The Regular Committee meeting reconvened at 8:30 pm and the Committee returned to Open Session.
10) Commissioner Shelly moved and Commissioner Benz seconded a motion to approve the Closed Session Minutes of April 16, 2012 meeting.
By a voice vote, voting Yes – All; voting No – None. Motion Carried.
There being no further discussion, the meeting was adjourned at 8:37 pm.
Minutes taken by Bill Lambrecht.
MINUTES APPROVED ON JUNE 17, 2013.